Report on Trust’s AGM at Burford

From strength to strength together…

On a glorious summer afternoon in July, over forty members of the Trust gathered in the splendid environs of the Church of St John the Baptist, Burford, for the third annual meeting of the Trust.

Without exception the formal reports from the officers outlined a successful year for OHCT which is in the top group of trusts nationwide (details available in the Annual Review 2019). Noteworthy was the continued support from donors, trusts, sponsors, and the invaluable efforts of volunteers, all of whom have enabled OHCT to provide continued financial support to Oxfordshire churches, more than £200K in 2018-19. Indications are this level of funding will continue in 2019-20. The formal re-election of the Rt Rev Colin Fletcher for a further period as President was both welcomed and uncontested.

Publicity is the life-blood of any organisation and OHCT has scored a number of hits this year. The Annual Ride & Stride event held each September continues to be the main fund-raiser for the Trust and the penny farthing ride in Oxford on 31st May was a major success in raising public awareness. Special thanks were made to Hilary Cakebread-Hall, Ride & Stride County Organiser; to Basil Eastwood for his work as Development Officer, and to the tireless work of the Area Representatives who ensure that existing and new incumbents of churches know of the work of the Trust and how to utilise its generosity to maintain the fabric of their wonderful buildings and to benefit the congregations and communities they serve.

At the conclusion of the formal business, members were treated to a guided tour of the church, thanks to Penelope Leaf and David Warr. St John’s was 300 years in building, starting around 1175 and completed in 1500. It was left unaltered until 1870 when G.E Street began a major programme of restoration. When referring to the church, Street stated that ‘in scale it [the church] is grander than most parish churches, but also that in its architectural detail it is singularly rich and beautiful’. Noteworthy features pointed out by Penelope and David were the C12 Norman West door, the three-storey C15 South Porch, the elaborate C17 tomb of Sir Lawrence and Lady Tanfield, and the stained glass. Very little ancient glass survives, the majority is Victorian and later (notably by Kempe, Clayton & Bell and Christopher Whall). Members were given time to explore the many other architectural features and furnishings in the church.

To conclude the events of the day, a service of evening prayer was conducted by Bishop Colin. Members then adjourned to the garden of Warwick Hall to enjoy a buffet supper in the evening sunshine. Our thanks to the Vicar, Tom Putt, Ben Turner and his team for providing the venue.